The last few years have shown that influencer marketing is a vital source of information for consumers. Social media influencers share everything from their fitness regimens to their love of fountain pens, and they’re good at it. 76% of marketers consider influencer engagement effective in garnering customer loyalty, and 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow an influencer recommendation.
As a marketing strategy, influencers have quickly risen to the top of the list, but entering a brand-influencer partnership to promote products and services often gives mixed results.
While brand-owned and user-generated content (UGC) is valuable in building trust for certain products, services, and brands, it’s only visible to your brand’s existing audience without the right distribution methods. Growth and engagement can be slow through traditional advertising approaches.
A better way of increasing influencer marketing ROI is influencer whitelisting.
What Is Influencer Whitelisting?
Influencer whitelisting is when an influencer or creator grants access to brands to advertise on their social media accounts. This marketing strategy allows brands to work with influencers to create content aligned with the brand’s voice and message.
While the influencer will still be present in the ad, the brand has an opportunity to optimize content. This could include things like editing copy or adding call-to-action buttons or a discount code.
This is different from brand-owned content in that the ads run through the influencer’s account and show up under their handle. Brand-owned content can be limited in reach, often targeting the same audience.
While whitelisting is possible on other platforms, Facebook and Instagram have built-in tools to provide the best experience.
Why You Should Use Whitelisting
Marketing is all about promoting and selling products or services. While likes and comments on social media are great for brand awareness, they’re not sales.
Brand-owned content and social media algorithms will only get you so far. At some point, your content will reach a stagnant audience or even the wrong audience.
With more people looking to social media for product ratings, adopting new influencer marketing strategies can turn organic engagement into sales and promote content to a brand new audience. After all, businesses make $6.50 for every dollar invested in influencer marketing.
How Does It Work?
On Facebook and Instagram, advertisers must be granted permission through an influencer’s Facebook Business Manager account. Advertisers can then add the influencer as a Business Partner on their Business Manager, and once they accept, the whitelisting campaign can begin.
Ads can be created and posted from Facebook Ads Manager, where the influencer’s accounts will be available. It’s important to note that whitelisting will only work if an influencer has a Facebook Business Manager account with linked Facebook and Instagram accounts. Without this, you won’t be able to run ads through their account.
Benefits of Whitelisting
Increased reach is nothing without conversion. Like using IVR, whitelisting makes it easier for your prospective customers to engage with you. Your business will benefit from:
Running Dark Posts
One significant benefit of whitelisting is dark posts. These are ads created by a brand that run through an influencer’s account without cluttering up influencer feeds, stories, or timelines.
While the ads show up under the influencer’s handle, they’re only visible to a targeted audience, allowing a brand to narrow down each piece of content’s viewers and build a lookalike audience through ads manager.
Better Audience Targeting
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It’s also the definition of stale marketing campaigns.
With whitelisting, brands can reach new and larger audiences. This provides an opportunity to test ads out on specific audiences through targeted posts.
Testing different call-to-actions, copy, or content types on different audiences will indicate what’s working and what isn’t. Varying between shorter videos, slideshows of images, gifs, or even different taglines will impact their effectiveness.
Access to Analytics
There’s nothing more helpful than working with the perfect influencer to promote your brand. Whitelisting allows the use of analytics which give valuable insights on how influencer posts are performing so you can compare between different influencers.
Discovering which influencers are leading the way for your brand will help you allocate your marketing resources and inform future influencer partnerships. If you’re interested in tracking influencer metrics beyond specific whitelisting campaigns, Pixlee’s Influencer Marketing platform allows you to manage and analyze success with multiple influencers at once. You can also discover influencers based on filters like follower size, location, and industry.
You will also gain better user insights on impressions, engagement, and even add-to-carts, enabling you to easily monitor campaigns and shape future marketing strategies.
Well-Developed Influencer Relationships
Having a trusted ambassador for your brand is vital for you to succeed. That is what an influencer can become.
They might not be the face of your campaign, but they are a trusted face to thousands, maybe even millions, of people.
Only 38% of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from brands on social media, whereas that figure jumps to 61%for influencers.
Through whitelisting, and even more so through an influencer management platform, you can develop a long-term professional relationship with an influencer, giving you an edge over your competitors.
The Challenges of Whitelisting and Pixlee For Creators
Influencer whitelisting is a relatively new marketing strategy. As a result, there are no industry standards or best practices to follow, which results in some common stumbling blocks regarding this type of marketing.
Maintaining trust with the influencer’s audience and finding the right, willing influencer to partner on a whitelisting campaign can be difficult and time-consuming when done manually. Whitelisting may also not always be the answer to your influencer partnership.
The best way to get creative value from influencers is by having them authenticate with a creator platform like Pixlee for Creators; then, any content they post about your brand can immediately be ingested into your platform to use elsewhere. Because the influencers you work with have already taken the initiative to sign up and will be producing their own content that aligns with the focused audience they’ve built on social media, this approach may provide higher ROI and customer loyalty in the long run.
Kimpton re-shares influencer content on its social media profiles, combining company messaging with authentic consumer experiences.
Finding the Right Influencer
Both influencer whitelisting and using a creator platform to start a general campaign are powerful marketing tools, but only when you have the right influencer.
Don’t fret over the number of followers an account has. Instead, focus on the number of engagements. While these won’t translate directly into sales, they can indicate the actual audience you will have.
Micro-influencers are often a good solution because they have more niche, focused audiences and see higher engagement rates despite having a lower follower count. Aside from having a better engagement rate, micro-influencers are also excellent at boosting conversion rates. Since they’re closer to their audience and they have a smaller number of followers, they have a more genuine voice than the more prominent names in the industry.
Look for influencers who can relate and fit seamlessly into your brand. With so many different niches out there, looking to a beauty influencer to promote a VoIP business product doesn’t make much sense. Take advantage of influencer discovery tools like Pixlee’s to instantly see what options are out there for your brand.
Powerful and Mutually Beneficial Marketing
Influencer whitelisting is changing brand-influencer sponsorships, endorsements, and reviews for the better. Instead of leaving the chance that someone will see your ads to a social media algorithm or luck, you can target your preferred audience through a trusted figure.
It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, promising benefits for both the influencer and brand if done well. Finding the right influencer is vital to making the best of your campaign, whether it’s about competitive SEO analysis or hats.
Ensuring a good, trusting relationship with influencers will help you develop brand awareness, engagement, and sales.
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud phone system and communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.